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Chapter 108: Arrival

January 1, 1906
C, B & Q Depot
Sterling, Illinois

CB&Q Depot in Sterling, Illinois, about 1900. Source:

The train pulled into the station at about half past seven; the snow was still coming down heavily. I looked up at the streetlights around the depot, marveling at the large flakes coming down, and all around me as the town was covered in heavy, wet snow, and at the brisk movements of the people at the depot, meeting passengers and gathering baggage. No one seemed unnerved, or dismayed, or even to care — and I stepped off the train down into a six-inch hill of snow.

Stepping high above the piles of snow and salted walkway, so as to keep my shoes from being ruined, I made my way over to the C, B & Q depot stairs. Several porters managed to drag and carry trunks and baggage off the train and into the station, piling them into the baggage room.

I looked about the depot waiting room, but didn’t see Nick anywhere. I went to the station manager’s window to inquire about a message for me, but there was nothing. I felt a bit out of sorts, abandoned on this cold night — but Nick had advised me in his last letter that I should plan on taking a taxi to the boarding house myself in case of bad weather, as it would be rather simple, and the family with whom I was boarding would be awaiting my arrival on the 31st as planned. “We can’t always expect the trains to run on time in January, and the weather often dictates the timetables. Winters can be rather hazardous on a man’s schedule, if you are prone to be prompt, he said, but not to worry.

A porter helped me to catch a wagon cart sled — something I’d not seen before, either — with bells on the horses. I told the driver I thought this was charming; he gave me a look and didn’t comment. I didn’t care — it was freezing and I was about to begin my new life in a new home. 

The driver loaded up my trunk and I climbed in — I gave the address to the drive and we were off. 

Categories: Book In Emmett's Words

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Communication, Arts, and the Humanities
The University of Maryland Global Campus

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